Queensland Off The Track: Subsidised Lessons Program

In mid-2021 the Queensland Off-The-Track Program launched its first major initiative to support retired Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses in their journey as they transition from the racing industry into the domestic horse community.

The Subsidised Lessons Program has been created to enable new owners of retired racehorses access instruction and individual support to optimise racehorse aftercare and ensure positive welfare outcomes for Queensland’s retired racehorses. To date, 356 retired Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses have been supported by the Subsidised Lessons Program.

The lessons can cover nutrition, groundwork, general horse care, behaviour and ridden work. This holistic approach has proven to be a huge part of the program’s success in its first year of operation, with the feedback received from participants being unequivocally positive.

 “I honestly did not expect to get so much support, increased knowledge, and experience. I am over the moon with the results I have achieved.” Petra Westgaard, 2021 Graduate.

Participants are eligible for ten lessons, which are awarded through a voucher system where approved applicants can select a coach from a list of 38 QOTT Approved Coaches. QOTT Approved Coaches are Equestrian Australia Accredited Coaches and are located across Queensland.

The success of the popular Subsidised Lessons Program is making a real difference in the lives of retired racehorses and has been pivotal in stimulating demand in the rehoming space.

“It made the decision to take on an OTT feel more supported. I was initially hesitant to take a Thoroughbred straight of the track, but this program made me feel like the retraining would be much more manageable.” Bethany van Barnevel 2021 Graduate.

The Subsidised Lessons Program compliments another successful initiative launched by the QOTT Program, the Acknowledged Retrainers Program. Any horse who has been retrained and rehomed via the Acknowledged Retrainers Program is immediately eligible for inclusion in the Subsidised Lessons Program.

A horse is deemed eligible to participate in the Subsidised Lessons Program if the horse:

  1. is a Thoroughbred or Standardbred that has been, or is eligible to be, registered for thoroughbred racing or harness racing in Australia; and
  2. a decision has been made not to race the horse, or the horse has retired directly from racing, race training and/or breeding within the last twelve (12) months; and
  3. the horse is one of the below:
    1. was bred in Queensland but was unraced; or
    2. has started in an official barrier trial or race in Queensland, and was domiciled in Queensland at the time of its retirement; or
  • is a retired broodmare or stallion and was domiciled in Queensland at the time of its retirement.

To find out more about the Subsidised Lessons Program please visit:  https://www.racingqueensland.com.au/animal-care/off-the-track/subsidised-lessons

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